smith & daughters vegan cookbook review

I’m going to get right into this review because there’s so much to talk about. This is Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That Happens To Be Vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse. It’s out now and you can grab it for yourself here if you like. We’re also including a recipe from the book in this review below, because it was so amazing and we wanted to share the love of this (spoilers) great book with you all. In short, it’s a cookbook based on their popular restaurant, it’s design-minded, and it’s full of Spanish-inspired super tasty recipes. Let’s dig deeper!

The style of S&D is so close to my own personal style - if you like the style of our magazine, you’ll like this book. It’s got beautiful typography, hand-lettered elements,  moody colors, as well as immaculate details. Its black bookmark, black fore edge, perfect matte finish pages, and tight color palette all really come together for one beautiful design.

They have a totally personable writing style, like you’re getting cooking tips directly from a friend. If there’s anything I love about a cookbook, besides great recipes, it’s a distinct point of view & personality. Maybe that’s why I love their interstitial pages the most - they really show who they are and why they make the food they make, in the style they have. When I read a cookbook, I don’t just want a pile of recipes - I want it to act like a person showing me how THEY specifically cook. This book does that in spades.

They include a history of their personal lives and how they intertwine with how they started their restaurant, which was the inspiration for this book. And the layout of this book isn’t unlike a restaurant menu, either - it’s like cooking directly from their kitchen. (You just need to stock the ingredients!)

The ingredients they use was one of the things I saw about this book before I started writing the review. It includes ingredients like “butter” or “cheese” which can easily be seen as the vegan version of those ingredients. (They address it early on in the book.) My thoughts on it: personally, it can get tiring to see “vegan cheese” or “vegan sausage” in every vegan cookbook - it kind of feels like a step forward in vegan cooking, to not have to include that qualification on every ingredient line, to normalize this ‘weird’ way we cook. When I eat ice cream, I just call it ice cream. I don’t say “hey can you grab me the vegan ice cream out of the freezer?" I feel like this could be alarming to people who expect this language in a vegan cookbook, but I find it more casual and real for longer-term vegans (like ourselves.)

And I think the recipes make this book worth buying, even if it didn’t have the great style or personality. This is one of those rare books where I want to cook all the way through it. There’s a lot of Spanish & Latin American influence in their recipes, in the best way possible - you’ll see lots of chiles & corn and avocado in this book. And the amount of staples they include (like chipotle aioli, green apple & jalapeño hot sauce, or warm marinated olives) really make cooking fun for the more seasoned/adventurous cook. (They’re also great bring a table together when cooking for a party.) 

If I could have a whole cookbook collection in my kitchen by them, I would be happy. But even just this one book is really enough - every recipe sounds & looks so good that I want to stock my fridge and make them all, which is rare for me. This book is in my top favorite cookbooks I’ve ever read & cooked from. If you’re looking for a unique book with bold recipes that are great for warm-weather parties or just fun weekend cooking, you should definitely check out Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook.

smith & daughters vegan cookbook review smith & daughters vegan cookbook review

The recipes in this book aren’t that difficult to make, nor are their ingredients too hard to find. I would say that this book is for anyone looking to cook Latin American-style recipes, whether they’re a beginner or expert. I would’ve loved this book as a beginner vegan because it’s not too hard to cook through, but the flavors are still bold enough to make me happy and excited to try more.

This book is also for vegans/vegetarians who skew to a darker, moodier style and love that aesthetic. (Myself included.)

smith & daughters vegan cookbook review

their point of view, personality & writing style

smith & daughters vegan cookbook review smith & daughters vegan cookbook review

brunch

small

big

salads

extras

sauces & dressings

sweet

drinks

smith & daughters vegan cookbook review

panquques piquantes (corn & jalapeño pancakes)

oyster mushroom & white bean ceviche

Brazilian slaw

warm Spanish doughnuts

kale & leek bake (recipe below!) :)

 

vegan kale & leek bake from smith & daughters cookbook

It’s not like we’re trying, but we’ve struggled to find anyone who doesn’t love this dish. The cream sauce, the kale, the garlic breadcrumbs on top ... It’s literally the most perfect creamy casserole-style dish that will inspire second and third helpings.

Serves 4–6

500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) soy milk

250 ml (8 1/2 fl oz/1 cup) vegetable stock

1/2 onion, peeled and halved

3 garlic cloves, 1 smashed, 2 crushed

pinch of fennel seeds

2 fresh bay leaves

pinch of whole black peppercorns

handful chopped flat-leaf parsley, reserving the stalks for the stock

4 large leeks, cut in half lengthways and sliced into 1 cm (1/2) pieces, reserving the dark green ends for the stock

80 g (2 3/4 oz) butter, plus extra for greasing

olive oil, for frying

1 large bunch kale, leaves stripped and roughly torn

1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme

35 g (1 1/4 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

120 g (4 oz) shredded cheese (chickpea editor: we used cashew cheese for ours!)

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

stale bread

  1. Pour the soy milk and stock in a medium-sized saucepan and add the onion, smashed garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley stalks and green leek ends. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl and discard the leftover ingredients.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and a glug of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped leek with a pinch of salt and cook until soft but not coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and throw in a large pinch of salt. Drop in the kale leaves and boil for 3–4 minutes or until the leaves have begun to soften but still have their bright green colour. Drain and refresh under cold running water until the leaves are cool. This will stop the cooking process.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease four inpidual or one large ovenproof dish with a little butter.
  5. Heat the remaining butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat until melted. Add half of the crushed garlic and the thyme and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the flour. Stir well to combine and cook until it becomes a thick paste. Cook over low heat for about 1 minute to cook out the raw flour, then slowly add the strained infused soy milk, stirring constantly to keep the sauce smooth. Add the shredded cheese and mustard and continue to stir over a low heat until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Either tear the bread into small pieces or pulse in a food processor until you have chunky breadcrumbs. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add a big glug of olive oil. Add the remaining crushed garlic, the chopped parsley and the breadcrumbs along with a pinch of salt and toss well to coat in the oil. Cook over medium heat tossing often until the breadcrumbs are just beginning to turn a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. Add the kale and leeks to the sauce and stir until evenly combined. Pour into the prepared ovenproof dish/es and top with the garlicky breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.

smith & daughters vegan cookbook review

smith & daughters vegan cookbook review smith & daughters vegan cookbook review

Smith & Daughters by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse

Hardie Grant Books (ISBN 9781743792070)

$35.00 (hardcover)

Get it on Amazon here.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, published by Hardie Grant Books March 2017.

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